Young people are far less likely to vote than their parents and grandparents, yet many of them have strong views on local and national issues and want their voice to be heard. Social networking sites such as Facebook provide an ideal way for this conversation to take place. The Liberal Democrats believe that elected representatives should be easy to reach, which is why a far higher proportion of Lib Dems are available through sites such as Facebook than their Labour or Tory counterparts. David Cameron makes a lot of fuss about his use of the internet, but it's clear that behind the facade the rest of his party is lagging a long way behind.
Webb, who has 1,000 friends on the site, said it provided a useful tool to help him communicate with younger voters.
It's been a really useful as a way of enabling them to raise issues with me - bus fares is the number one concern - and most of them are really positive about me being on there.
These are the 19 Tory MPs on Facebook which I can find.
James Arbuthnot, David Burrows, Alistair Burt, David Cameron, Douglas Carswell, Philip Dunne, Nigel Evans, David Evennett, Damian Green, Justine Greening, Stephen Hammond, Greg Hands, Nick Herbert, Adam Holloway, Boris Johnson, David Lidington, John Maples, David Mundell, Andrew Rosindell, David Ruffley, Grant Shapps, Graham Stuart, Ed Vaizey, John Whittingdale, Ann WiddecombeIf Steve Webb's figures are right, I must be missing some.
UPDATE: A good publicity coup for Mr Webb. Even the Daily Mail has printed his press release without questioning how he compiled the figures! The proportionality figures he quotes were calculated by dividing the assumed party membership by the number of people signed up to each of the parties on the Great Facebook race. Not exactly scientific is it? Especially for someone with a Phd!
UPDATE: I'm struck by the number of Tory Candidates who have launched Facebook groups. Perhaps this is the best way to judge how parties are embracing the medium. I might do some investigatiosn into this today if I can't think of anything better to do!